WhatsApp is no doubt the most used instant messenger app across the globe. WhatsApp connects users from different places in the world. However, due to WhatsApp’s popularity and high usage rate, it has become a potential target for scammers and virus attacks. This piece highlights some of the commonly known scams and viruses on WhatsApp.
Some scams on WhatsApp are used to gain access to your personal information or to install malware dangerous malware on your device. Some of the common WhatsApp scams include:
1. WhatsApp Gold
This scam involves a fake premium version of the WhatsApp app called WhatsApp Gold. WhatsApp users receive a message with a link stating that they need to upgrade their WhatsApp app to the new and upgraded WhatsApp Gold.
If you go ahead and install the app through the link, you will have installed malicious software on your device. The malware might gain access to your private information on your device.
2. SIM-swop takeover
This type of scam involves scammers taking over your sim card number using a replaced sim card. The scammers will then log in into a new WhatsApp account using your number. The WhatsApp verification code will be sent to the new sim card that the scammers are using, giving them full access to your WhatsApp account.
Once they have access to your account, the scammers will impersonate you and use your WhatsApp account for fraud.
3. The WhatsApp Text Scam
This scam involves WhatsApp users receiving fake text messages that claim that their one year free trial for WhatsApp has expired. The message directs the victims to follow a link that will allow them to renew their WhatsApp subscription by providing their bank details and other sensitive personal details.
If you fall for this scam, you will have given all your important and private information to scammers that will use it to commit fraud.
Viruses on WhatsApp
WhatsApp viruses are malware that are related to the WhatsApp messenger app. These viruses rely on the unwariness of WhatsApp users in order to access their devices through the WhatsApp platform. Some of the common WhatsApp viruses include:
1. WhatsApp Virus Message
This virus involves an email letter that is sent to a WhatsApp user, indicating that they have a missed WhatsApp voice note. The subject of the letter is always indicated as “Missed Voicemail.” When users open the email, a link will be provided to play the voicemail message.
When the link is opened, users will be directed to a fake WhatsApp page that appears to have the voice mail message. Once the user tries to play the message, malware will be secretly installed into their devices.
2. WhatsApp Update Virus
This type of virus disguises itself as an update for WhatsApp, and once installed on a device; it installs malware that might cause harm to the device or facilitates information theft. For example, In 2017, there was a fake WhatsApp update that made its way into Google Play. It turned out that the update was a malware that allowed for forced advertisements on the users’ devices.
To avoid being a victim of scams and viruses through your WhatsApp app, you should avoid opening links that look suspicious; and only download apps and updates from trusted platforms such as Play Store.